Official Language of the Philippines

By Coat_of_Arms_of_the_Philippines.svg: Vectorized by Zachary Harden (User:Zscout370). derivative work: Zuanzuanfuwa [CC BY-SA 2.5 ( or Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsHere is a brief timeline of the history of the official language of the Philippines.

For more than three centuries, under Spanish colonial rule, Spanish was the official language of the country. Since then, there have been a number of changes and developments, as shown here:

  • 1897: Tagalog declared the official language by the first constitution in the Philippines, the Constitution of Biak-na-Bato.
  • 1935: English and Spanish designated as official languages by the Philippine constitution. A mandate was given to develop and adoption a common national language based on one of the existing native languages.
  • 1937: The National Language Institute, a committee composed of seven members who represented various regions in the Philippines, chose Tagalog as the basis for the evolution and adoption of the national language of the Philippines.
  • 1939: President Quezon renamed the proposed Tagalog-based national language as wikang pambansâ (meaning “national language”).
  • 1959: the Tagalog-based national language was renamed as “Pilipino“.
  • 1973: the constitution designated the Tagalog-based “Pilipino”, along with English, as an official national language and mandated the development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Filipino.
  • 1987: the constitution designated the national and official languages of the Philippines as follows:Excerpt from Constitution of the Philippines (1987) (Article XIV: 15.2)
  • “Section 6. The national language of the Philippines is Filipino. As it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages.Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system.”

  • Section 7. For purposes of communication and instruction, the official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and, until otherwise provided by law, English.”

    Image source: Coat of Arms Vectorized by Zachary Harden, via Wikimedia Commons